“Over my career, we developed far more internal pressure on ourselves, than the pressure and expectation that was put on us eternally. We knew we had to perform every single day, so that internal pressure helped to develop a day by day ownership of what we were doing. It made us aware that every row, was going to culminate towards our target, and by trying to better ‘ourselves’ each and every single time, it would help us gain huge confidence around what we knew were capable of achieving and a realistic expectation of result.”
Eric Murray was born in Hastings in 1982, but grew up in the Bombay Hills, south of Auckland, attending Pukekohe High School.
He initially favoured rugby, and gained an introduction to rowing as a means of training for rugby. Pukekohe High had a strong rowing squad and Murray soon showed unusual ability in the sport. He joined the Mercer Rowing Club and soon caught the eye of the national selectors. By 2003 he was in the national squad and was a member of the men’s development coxed four. Murray must have developed very well, because the following year he was in the New Zealand coxless four for the Athens Olympics.
In 2007 Murray, Bond, Dallinger and Meyer enjoyed a phenomenally successful season as a coxless four, winning seven out of eight major races. And at the 2007 world championships, in Munich, they were outstanding, winning the gold medal and setting themselves up as leading contenders for the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. However, things did not go well for the four in Beijing and they missed out on the final.
Entering the 2009 season, Murray and Bond teamed up in the coxless pair and gelled immediately. Their first big title was at the 2009 world championships in Poznan, Poland and continued their unbeaten streak through to winning gold at the 2011 world championships. They were overwhelming favourites at the London Olympics in 2012, but shrugged off the pressure and won by an incredible 4.5s. In winning their heat, the New Zealanders took six seconds off the world record with their time of 6min 08.5s, a time which is still unbeaten today. After that, their opponents knew they were rowing for second.
Eric and Hamish became double Olympic champions when they again won gold in the Rio 2016 Olympic games.
Eric Murray and Hamish Bond have formed one of the greatest combinations in rowing history. In fact, their five-year unbeaten streak from 2009-13, encompassing four world titles and an Olympic gold medal, bears comparison with the legends of any sport
Murray and Bond have won the Team of the Year award at the Halberg Awards in 2007 (as part of the coxless four), 2009 and 2012, and in 2012 won the Supreme award after their superb performance in London. The New Zealand Olympic Committee also awarded them the Lonsdale Cup in 2012.
The two champions were made Members of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2013 New Year honours.
Eric started rowing at Mercer Rowing Club and now rows for Waikato. Eric lives in Cambridge with his wife Jackie and 3 year old son Zac.